Monday, April 03, 2006

Funky bag

Felted bags seem to be all the new rage nowadays, so I really can't stay behind, can I??? I just HAVE to give this a try too!! Just so I can say "I did that too"... LOL
Well, it just so happens that I have had this wool sweater like forever and have practically never worn it, and after living in my closet for maybe 15 years, I decided it was time to let go. But let go of such a good quality sweater?? A wool one, with a jacquard pattern?? Hmm, maybe I should just give it a second life?? As a funky felted bag!! Yeah!!
But then the questions started pouring into my little brain... Should I just felt the whole sweater and then cut it up and sew the bag, or should I finish the sewing first and then felt it??? Wouldn't the front and back get stuck together, or a sleeve stuck where it's not supposed to be?? I'm sure I can do the felting in the washing machine, right?? It's one of those handwash type sweaters. How much would the shrinkage be, on average?? I could try with a little piece of the collar first to try that out maybe. I have only one of these type of sweaters that is 100% wool, suitable for felting (I guess?), and I don't wanna mess up my one chance at a felted bag.... LOL
I'll use the body of the sweater for the bag, and the sleeves for the handles. Should work, right? Of course I'll be taking pics of every step and upload them when I'm done. But only if it's worth it, okay?? LOL
So, I thought I'd start with the felting of the sweater last weekend. Figured I'd see at least *some* result after a cycle or two, and then it would still be easy to sew. After the sewing, I would continue the felting. Before I put it in I checked the label again, and saw to my horror that it was only 60% pure wool!!! Aaarrgghhh!! Was it not gonna work?? I figured I could give it a try anyway, since I was definitely not gonna wear that sweater anymore anyway, so just for the fun of it, I went ahead. Of course, after just one cycle I was really curious to see if there was any change yet. heh....
Hmm, it appears it only took one cycle for the felting!! I did run the machine on the hottest and longest cycle (and that is NOT a gentle cycle, but the roughest I have!!). I put the sweater in one of those netted zippered bags, and added a plastic cup with some laundry soap (not the gentle wool type though) IN the washing machine on top of the bagged sweater. Must have helped with the beating. Because of the hot water and the type of soap I used, the bright colors of the sweater have now faded, but that's okay, I wasn't too fond of the colors anyway, and they're much more muted now. And apparently cold water rinsing in between wasn't a problem for the felting process either. :-)
The sweater has shrunk so that it now may fit a 6 yo, and the fabric has gotten very thick!! I wasn't too sure how I'm was sew that, but my machine can handle jeans if I use a special needle, so I figure it would work out okay. And it did. I took it to sewing class with me on Wednesday evening. The teacher was very intrigued and helpful. I was curious to see/hear my fellow student's reactions though. I didn't tell them about my plans. (ggg) They were all very interested in what I was doing, cutting up an old sweater that I had washed the wrong way... LOL
But now, I bet they'll raid their closets for old wool sweaters after seeing this though!! LOL
I told DH what I was gonna do before putting the sweater in the washing machine, and he thought I was nuts. After the little sweater came out of the washing machine he just couldn't stop laughing. He still thinks I'm nuts.... LOLOLOL
The bag should be finished this week, and I'll upload some pics if it turns out okay.
I can't wait to see the final result!! This is exciting! ;-))



Mim Smith Faro said...

Ooo! Sounds very cool indeed. I can't wait to see pictures.

thejanet said...

Yeah, we wanna see pics of the funky felted bag! I have several all wool sweaters the crickets ate, so I want to see yours before killing my sweaters all the way rather than (ick ick ick) darning them.

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